Reply to comment

‘Crime generator’ club, The Den and Centro, battles to remain open

Published: September 15, 2011

A WEST End nightclub branded by police as a “crime generator” plans to fight a Town Hall bid to close it down.

Camden Council revoked the licence of The Den and Centro, off New Oxford Street, after hearing evidence of alleged offences, including drug use, a shooting and a stabbing.

The council said it had received 44 complaints about the venue, but the club’s operations director Yassin Baboo claimed the incidents had occurred before current licence holder Old World took over in April 2010.

He said: “We will be fighting this all the way to the High Court if required, and will then be looking to seek substantial costs against Camden Council. Our legal team are forensically investigating every unsubstantiated allegation and the community alerts that have led to this shameful abuse of process.”

While Camden’s most senior police officer, Commander John Sutherland, had called for the licence to be revoked, police licensing chief Sergeant Bob Dear surprised observers at an all-day hearing last month when he said he thought it should remain open.

Bloomsbury Association chairman Jim Murray said managers at the club had made “strenuous efforts” to combat crime and address complaints from residents.

But he felt the problems at the club were an inevitable result of the size of the venue and its long opening hours.

He said: “We think the council have made the correct decision. The nature of the beast is such that it’s an unmanageable situation. When you think that these premises cater for 1,000 people, all you need is for a few of them to come out drunk and you’ve got a serious disturbance, and there are hundreds of people who live within a few metres of the place.”

Bury Place Residents’ Association secretary Helen McMurray said: “The club became a place that people went when everywhere else was closed. It made the lives of residents a misery. This decision shows what residents can do when they all group together.”

Old World has until October 4 to appeal. The Den and Centro can continue trading until any appeal is rejected.


By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.